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ISHVANI KENDRA
Institute of Missiology and Communications
Pune – India

October / 2005

I. REPORT AND DOCUMENTATION

Adidas Ababa: Pact Clears Way for Catholic University in Ethiopia

Church and government representatives have signed an agreement for the establishment of an international Catholic university in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. The Archbishop of Addis Ababa emphasized that the university will belong to all Ethiopians. He also recalled the cooperation between the Church and the government’s Ministry of Education. According to the prelate, the Church has five colleges in Ethiopia. Almost half of Ethiopia’s 73 million inhabitants are Muslim. The Orthodox represent about 35% of the population. The Catholic Church has been present in Ethiopia since the beginning of Christianity.

Buenos Aires: Argentine Cardinal – Defend the Unborn Unto Death

The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, encouraged Catholics to untiringly defend the unborn against abortion even if “they persecute or kill you.” Cardinal Bergoglio recalled that the faithful have the duty to defend life “from the beginning until the end.” Catholics should persevere in this mission, he said. He called on Catholics “to be astute” in defending life and not allow themselves to be made fools of by those who promote the culture of death. “No child should be deprived of the right to be born, the right to be fed, the right to go to school. No elderly person should be left alone, abandoned,” the Cardinal said in remarks to a group of pregnant women. (ENI)

Chicago: International Eastern Catholic Encounter Planned

Representatives of the Eastern Catholic churches of the United States and Canada plan to hold a second international encounter October 30 – 03 November, 2006, in Chicago. The bishops of all Eastern Catholic churches in the two countries are expected to attend, along with representatives of priests, deacons, religious and laity from their churches. The 24 Eastern Catholic church jurisdictions in the United States and Canada include Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Melkite, Romanian, Maronite, Armenian, Chaldean, Syriac, Maronite and Syro-Malabar. (Satyadeepam)

China: Chinese Priests Study the Impact of Ancient Cultures

Mainland Chinese priests attended an international symposium hosted by Hong Kong’s Catholic seminary on Chinese and Christian cultures. They say they found the exchange stimulating. The Third International Symposium of Philarchisophia was held on 16-18 August, with the theme “Philarchisophia and Classics,” was being held for the first time at Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy in Hong Kong. Forty scholars of philosophy, theology and religious studies participated. They presented more than 30 papers and discussed the classics of three ancient cultures – Chinese, Greek and Hebrew. The scholars, both Christians and people of other faiths, came from Britain, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the United States, as well as Jerusalem. (UCAN)

Cologne: Pope Benedict Warns of Growing Anti-Semitism

During German Visit Pope Benedict XVI, visiting a synagogue in Germany described as an “historic event” by a Jewish leader, has warned of a rising wave of anti-Semitism. “Today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of anti-Semitism and various forms of a general hostility towards foreigners,” the Pope told members of Germany’s oldest Jewish community on 19 August at Roonstrasse Synagogue in Cologne. The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Paul Spiegel, welcomed the Pope’s visit, describing it as a “historic event.” He said it is the first time that any head of the Catholic Church, “and a German to boot,” has visited a Synagogue in Germany. Benedict, the first German pope in 1000 years, was visibly moved by the warm welcome given to him by Netanel Teitelbaum and he stopped to contain himself in front of the wall inside the building which commemorates the extermination of 11000 Cologne Jews during the Nazi era. (ENI)

Germany: Biblical Program at WYD

A program on the Bible enabled tens of thousands of participants at World Youth Day to rediscover Scripture, including unbaptized youths from Asia. The title of the program was “Feel the Power of the World.” Invitations to biblical meetings were issued on the five official languages of World Youth Day, as well as in Portuguese and Chinese. A total of 35,000 copies of the Gospel were given away. (Zenith)

India, New Delhi: Indian Churches Want Equal Rights for Low-Caste Christian Dalits

Church leaders in India are stepping up their efforts for Christian Dalits to have the same rights as those of other members of the low-caste group. The issue was raised at a meeting at the end of August during a meeting of India’s National Integration Council attended by political leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi, head of the Indian National Congress, the main governing party. A joint statement presented by Roman Catholic Archbishop Vincent Concessao, Christian minority rights campaigner John Dayal, and Church of North India theologian Valson Thampu said Christian dalits felt “alienated” from society. (ENI)

Iraq: “Christians Will Flee Iraq if it Imposes Shariah”

A Chaldean Catholic leader said Christianity may begin to disappear from Iraq if the country’s new constitution is based on Shariah, or Islamic law. “If there is nothing that assures Christians of their rights, they will leave for other countries,” said Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq. “We are asking people to stay in this country, but the problem is that we cannot give them a vision for the future. No one knows what the future will hold,” he told Aid to the Church in Need. His remarks were published on the Web site of the international charity’s British offices. Iraqi Christian leaders are united in their opposition to the adoption of Shariah because they fear it will mean that Christians may become second-class citizens. Under it, non-Muslims and women would not share equal rights with Muslim men. (CNS)

Jerusalem: Holy Land Bishop says Religious Leaders can Step in for Politicians

Younan, the Palestinian-born leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Holy Land says if world leaders cannot succeed in negotiating peace in Israel and Palestinian areas then church leaders should join with Jewish and Islamic leaders in assuming responsibility for this task. “If world leaders and politicians cannot make this dream a reality, and if they cannot get out of their narrow national interests and see the human suffering and hear the prayers of both,” said Younan, “then the Church locally and globally must more proactively assume its responsibility with people of good conscience and courage from Judaism and Islam.” He was speaking at the opening service of the council of the Lutheran World Federation being held in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, 31 August to 6 September. Younan noted that the conflicts of the Middle East show how sick ideologies and untruths can create hatred and mayhem. Noting the Holy Land is at a “critical juncture” in history. The globalized world is becoming one without values said Younan, saying he was shocked to see “the world seems to believe more in the love of power than in the power of love.” He added: “the new wave of anti-Semitism, the growth of Islamophobia and xenophobia stigmatize and demonize people through racism, fear and ignorance.” (ENI)

Jerusalem: Christians in Holy Land say they Face Growing Pressure

The Christian minority in the Holy Land has come under attack from both Muslims and Jews recently in incidents that highlight the perilous situation in which the community often finds itself in the land of Jesus’ birth. On 4 September, a mob of Muslim youths rampaged in the mostly Christian town of Taybe, northeast of the West Bank city of Ramallah. The youth set fire to 14 village houses in revenge for an alleged affair between a Christian businessman and a Muslim woman from their adjacent village. Christians represent less than 2 per cent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. They say violence against their small community is increasing both from Muslim neighbours in the Palestinian territories as well as from Jews in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem. (ENI)

Malawi: Christian And Islamic Group Lobbies for Debt Cancellation

Faith-based organizations in Malawi with funding from the British-based aid agency Oxfam have united to fight for debt cancellation and trade justice for one of the world’s poorest nations. The grouping called Forum of Faith Communities for Debt Cancellation and Trade Justice comprises the Malawi Council of Churches, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, the Evangelical Association of Malawi, the Muslim Association of Malawi and the Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi. According to international organizations, Malawi is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world with an income per person of around $160 per year and while it is spending millions of US dollars every year servicing debts, the government can only afford to spend on average (Malawi Kwacha) Mk1, 524 (US$12) per person each year on health care, according to Minister of Health Hetherwick Ntaba. Meanwhile, the multi-faith grouping is teaching people about the economy and national budget so they can learn how the country’s economy is being run. The grouping believes the public can easily participate in the fight on debt cancellation and trade imbalance if they know the meaning of the budget and how trade works internationally. (ENI)

Manila: Filipino Bishop Calls for Probe of Pastor’s Killing

A Protestant bishop in the Philippines is urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s government to investigate the 20 August shooting of a pastor who campaigned against the entry of mining corporations on the Philippines island of Palawan. The pastor, Raul Domingo has died in hospital on 4 September. Bishop Pascua said that in addition to campaigning against the entry of big mining companies in Palawan, Domingo had been a prominent leader in the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), a militant organization calling for government reform, and in Karapatan, an independent human rights group. The bishop said he was concerned that there seemed to be “a pattern of shooting church workers who advocate human rights and who are vigilant against big mining companies.” (ENI)

Mexico: Pope Exhorts Mexico’s Franciscans

Benedict XVI encouraged the three Franciscan religious orders present in Mexico to “keep alive the spirit of the ‘poverello’ of Assisi, whose example continues to set the world on fire.” The papal message, read by Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, the apostolic nuncio in Mexico, set the framework for the first National Meeting of the Three Franciscan Orders, attend by more than 1,000 delegates in this central Mexican city. In this message, the Pope applauded the Franciscans’ concern to offer Mexico alternatives to overcome the negative situations the country is facing and to foster all that which would improve it.

New York: Church Agencies Rush Aid to Victims of ‘America’s Tsunami’

A week after Hurricane Katrina battered the city of New Orleans and large sections of the US Gulf Coast, church-based relief groups are stepping up their efforts to assist those who survived what is being called possibly the worst natural disaster to hit the United States. During the weekend that coincided with the 5 September US Labour Day holiday, Jews, Christians, Muslims and those of other religious faiths all prayed and passed collection trays for hurricane relief efforts. Church World Service, the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 36 US denominations, announced it was rushing aid shipments and staff to the area and would work with affected communities to meet the long-term needs of the most vulnerable. (ENI)

Nigeria: Anglican, Catholic Bishops Urge Nigerian Churches: Focus on Youth

Bishops of the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in Nigeria say youth need more attention from the Church and the government as an investment in the future. Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jos and Bishop Emmanuel Egbunu, Anglican Bishop of Lokoja, called the attention of the Nigerian churches and the government to the plight of young people. Speaking on the same day that Pope Benedict XVI addressed hundreds of thousands of young people in Cologne, Germany, Kaigama said, “By investing in youth the churches are investing in future generations.” The archbishop noted there is a need for both the government and the Church to devote more resources to youth development to curb social vices. He also urged media organizations to inculcate moral, traditional and religious values in today’s youth. (ENI)

South Africa: South African Church Redistributes Lands to the Poor

South Africa’s Catholic Church is giving away its land in a way the state could copy, a church official said noting increasing agitation among the poor at the country’s slow pace of land reform. The Church targets the poor in its land redistribution program and ensures that people are able to use the land profitably” said Philani Mkize, coordinator of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference land desk. Department of Land Affairs Director-General Glen Thomas said since South Africa’s first all-race election in 1994 about 7.7 million acres of land have been redistributed, benefiting 1.2 million people. Church is donating much diocesan-owned land to people living and working on it. (CNS)

Ukraine: Ukrainian Cardinal Wants to Move Headquarters for Better Ties

The head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said the transfer of its headquarters from Lviv to Kiev would help improve ecumenical relations, despite protests and criticism from Russian Orthodox leaders. Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar said relocating his residence and the Church’s administrative offices to the Ukrainian capital was not an act of aggression aimed against the Orthodox churches, but rather reflected the needs of his Church. Pope John Paul II gave his “assent” to the move because it was already agreed upon by the Ukrainian Synod of Bishops, said a Vatican official. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is a church in its own right, and the Synod of Bishops is its highest governing body. “The Pope is limited to just giving his assent because the decision is made by the synod,” said the official. Cardinal Husar said that from 21 August his title was changed from major archbishop of Lviv to major archbishop of Kiev and Halych. A Catholic cathedral in Kiev remains under construction. (CNS)

II. INFORMATION

New Delhi: New National Monthly Religious Publication Launched by Catholic Religious Conference of India

‘Religious India’ is a new religious monthly launched by the Catholic Religious Conference of India. The publication, 125,000 copies printed in colour, will provide information on the charisma and activity of the many different institutes of Catholic religious in the country and serve as a channel of contact and exchange of experience. A non religious section of the publication will focus on present day social and cultural questions, presenting the position of Catholic Church teaching or Catholic theology. The publication is a response to guidelines issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The Catholic Church in India is convinced that the media can help promote peace and harmony in Indian society. (Fides Service)

Pune: Ishvani Kendra Will Organize a National Consultation on Healing as Mission from 12 to 16 December, 2006.

Healing will be analyzed with wholistic perspective, hence papers will be presented on physical healing, psychological healing, spiritual healing and social healing – AIDS and streetchildren. Many renowned thinkers, writers, activists are participating in this Consultation.

III. BOOKS

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Mumbai: India Printing Works, 2004

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, by the request of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has drawn up this new document. It is important to note that the text is proposed as an instrument for nourishing ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue with all those who sincerely desire the good of the human person.

Subhash Anand, Hindu Inspiration for Christian Reflection: Towards a Hindu-Christian Theology, Anand: Gujarat, Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 2004.

The book brings together hermeneutical studies on two keys Hindu ideas Purusa and Advaita on two Hindu images Mandira and Natarāja.

Samuel Hugh Moffett, A History of Christianityin Asia: Volume II (1500-1900), New York: Maryknoll, Orbis Books, 2005.

This second volume opens new doors of understanding the development, conflicts and surprises of Christian history in Asia.

ISHVANI KENDRA
P.B. 3003, Pune – 411014 – INDIA
Ph : (0091) - 020 – 27033820; 27033507

E-mail: ishvani@dataone.in
Website:
www.ishvanikendra.org

Please forward this Mission Scan to any of your friends and acquaintances.
Lazar Thanuzraj Stanislaus, SVD (Director)